Today’s Sportstat: April 30, 2020

No wide receivers in the draft is not common for the Packers

How about one more article on the recent NFL draft?

In addition to the chatter about how the Green Bay Packers used a first round choice on a QB, the other big news for the team was the fact that they did not select a wide receiver early in the draft… truth is they didn’t select any wide receivers among their 2020 selections.

Most experts had the Packers adding a playmaking receiver in the first couple rounds of the draft. When they didn’t select even one over the three days, a lot of people were surprised.

The last time the Packers did not select a wide receiver in any round of an NFL Draft was in 2012, eight years ago. If we check the team’s drafts from the past 50 years, it was only the ninth time since 1970 that the Pack did not choose a wide receiver in the draft.

Let’s go back to the selection of a wide receiver in the first round, again, an expected move for the Packers this season. In some respects, it should not come as a surprise that they didn’t use their first rounder on a wide receiver. Since 1970, only four times have the Packers chosen a wide receiver in the first round. The last time it happened was in 2002 when Green Bay selected receiver Javon Walker in the first round.

The other first round receivers taken by the Packers in the first round since 1970: Sterling Sharpe, 1988; James Lofton, 1978; and Barry Smith, 1973.

Both Sharpe and Lofton went onto great careers with the Packers. Sharpe had 595 catches with the Packers and ranks second behind Donald Driver’s 743 for most catches by a Green bay wide receiver. Lofton grabbed 530 passes as a Packers and ranks fourth on the wide receiver’s most catches list.

Sharpe, Lofton and Walker are the three Packers wide receivers drafted in the first round that had 150 or more career catches with the team. Of the 19 wide receivers who had 150 or more career catches with the Packers, five were selected in the second round, four were taken in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round or later, and two of the players came to the Packers via a trade or free agency, and one, Don Hutson, who ranks fifth on the list with 488 catches, was with the team before the NFL Draft was ever instituted.

Looking at the 22 NFL wide receivers that have 900 or more career catches, 10 were drafted in the first round, two were chosen in the second round, four were selected in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round, and two of those wide receivers with 900 or more career receptions were undrafted.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: April 25, 2020

Here’s how the Packers have treated their previous first-round QBs

“With the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select… Jordan Love, QB, Utah State.”

With those words, spoken from his basement, NFL Commissioner Roger Godell sent a literal wedge into Packer Nation. On one side, there are the Packer faithful who see Love as the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers and feel the selection of Love in the first round was a sound decision for the future. On the other side, we have Packers fans who thought the selection of a QB who will likely not see the field anytime soon was a waste, especially when you consider the team has needs at other positions.

In today’s NFL, it is not uncommon for teams to use a first round pick on a quarterback, especially if they have a dire need for an upgrade at that position. But for the Packers to choose Love (JLo) when they already have Rodgers (ARod), seemed strange. (Maybe as strange as Alex Rodriguez dating Jennifer Lopez… but I digress.)

Love, who was the fourth QB chosen in the first round of this year’s draft (behind Joe Burrow-Cincinnati, Tua Tagavailoa-Miami and Justin Herbert -L.A. Chargers), is clearly looked upon as Rodgers’ eventual replacement, but that will probably not happen soon. Burrow, Tagavailoa and Herbert will likely be thrust into starting positions in their first seasons with their respective teams while Love will sit. Rodgers has said he wants to keep playing into his 40s, and if he stays healthy, Love will not get introduced as the G.B. starting QB unless Rodgers sustains an injury.

Having said all of this, it should not be surprising that the Packers franchise took this route in the draft. Consider this: Love is the fourth QB the Packers drafted in the first round since 1970. The other three first-rounders, Jerry Tagge, Rich Campbell and Aaron Rodgers, rarely took snaps as the Pack’s starting QB in their first three seasons on the team.

Tagge was a first rounder in 1972, the 11th overall pick. He did not start any games at QB for the Packers his first season; started six games his second season, and had six starts his third season. After that, he was out of football after only three seasons.

Campbell was the Packers first pick in the 1981 draft, the sixth overall selection. He spent four seasons in Green Bay, yet never started a game for the team. In fact, he played in only seven career games in the NFL. Yes, that was the Packers’ first round choice in 1981. Five eventual Hall of Famers were selected after Campbell that year.

Rodgers was the 24th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. He did not start a game until his fourth season with the Packers. We all know what he has done since then.

There’s a really interesting stat I discovered about first round QBs taken since 1970… there have been 110 QBs taken in the first round since 1970. Did you know that only two QBs of those 110 did not start a game for his team the first three seasons with his team? Well, I gave you the answer above; Rich Campbell and Aaron Rodgers are the only two QBs taken in the first round since 1970 who did not start an NFL game for their team in the first three seasons… both quarterbacks chosen by the Green Bay Packers in the first round.

Will Love see his career go the route of the previous first round QBs taken by the Packers? We’ll see. It would not, however, surprise me if Rodgers stays healthy and Love does not start a game for the Pack in his first three seasons with the team. That would make him the third Packers first round QB to not start a game in his first three years with the team. None of the other NFL franchises has since 1970 has had even one QB fit this category.

Here are the 11 NFL quarterbacks selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1970 who started the fewest games in their first three seasons in the league.

0: Rich Campbell, 1981; Aaron Rodgers, 2005

1: Jim Druckenmiller, 1997

2: Dan McGwire, 1991

3: Mark Malone, 1980

4: Paxton Lynch, 2016; Tommy Maddox, 1992, Steve Pisarkiewicz, 1978, Andre Ware, 1990

5: Jack Thompson, 1979

6: Art Schlichter, 1982

In addition to Campbell and Rodgers, there are two first round QBs who did not start a game in their first two seasons. The other two are Chad Pennington and Philip Rivers. Ironically, of the 110 QBs taken in the first round since 1970, Rodgers has started the 12th most career games with 174, and Rivers has started the fifth most career games with 224.

One final note: Of the 110 QBs taken in the first round since 1970, 65 of them started 50% or more of their teams’ games in their first three seasons in the league. Twenty-five of the 110 started 40 or more of the team’s 48 games in those first three campaigns, and five first round QBs started all 48 of their team’s 48 games those first three seasons. The five: Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Ryan Tannehill.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: April 23, 2020

Is Ben Wallace the worst free throw shooter in NBA history?

Ben Wallace was a four-time All-Star and was first team All-Defense in the NBA five times. He twice led the league in rebounding and was second on two more occasions. In his 16-year NBA career with five different franchises, he was known as a tenacious rebounder and defender. He was, however, a terrible free throw shooter… maybe the worst in league history.

Of all players who attempted 500 or more career free throws, Wallace had a career free throw percentage of .414, the worst among those players. He never made 50% (or higher) of his free throws in a season, and actually had six seasons where his free throw percentage was under .360.

Here’s a look at the 12 players who had career free throw percentages under .500 (minimum of 500 career free throws attempted).

Ben Wallace, 1997-2012, .414
Lou Amundson, 2007-16, .444
Chris Dudley, 1988-2003, .458
Andre Drummond, 2013-20, .461
DeAndre Jordan, 2009-20, .474
Eric Montross, 1995-2002, .478
Steven Hunter, 2002-10, .485
Greg Kite, 1984-95, .486
Ken Bannister, 1985-91, .492
Darvin Ham, 1997-2005, .494
Dan Gadzuric, 2003-12, .498
Adonal Foyle, 1998-2009, .499

If we drop the minimum attempts to 100 career free throw attempts, there are four players who had a worse career free throw percentage than Wallace. Kim Hughes (1977-81) had a career .333 percentage from the charity stripe, followed by Joey Dorsey (2009-15) .375, Lorenzo Wlliams (1993-2000) .377 and Jerome Lane (1989-93) .379.

Of all Bucks players who attempted 500 or more career free throws with the team, Dan Gadzuric is/was by far the worst free throw shooter. He had a career .504 percentage in free throws with the Bucks. He is followed by John Henson .572, Andrew Bogut, .574, Alton Lister, .575 and Ervin Johnson, .586.

Of Bucks players with a minimum of 100 free throw attempts with the team, Joel Przybilla tops the list as the worst free throw shooter with a .419 percentage.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: April 18, 2020

Looking for longevity and durability in the NFL Draft? It will likely come from later round draft choices

The NFL Draft is this coming week and teams are looking to find just the right college players to add to their rosters.

The short-term goal for each NFL team is to have a draft where most if not all these draft choices can make the team and contribute in some way, shape or form. The long-term goal might be to draft a player or two who can become a mainstay for the franchise for years to come and be a player who provides longevity and durability as an NFL player.

You would think that the drafted players who most likely would have long careers in the NFL would be players drafted in the early rounds… those are the best college players, the cream of the crop.

History, however, tells us otherwise. Players drafted in the first round are not always the players who stay in the league a long time and play in triple-digit career games.

To prove my point, I looked at the last several college drafts going back to 2000. I looked at each year’s draft and found which player in that draft played the most career games of those players drafted that year. Here’s an example:

  • In the 2000 NFL Draft, defensive end Courtney Brown was the overall number one pick in the draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played a total of 61 games in his NFL career. The player from that draft who played the most career NFL games was punter Shane Lechler who was a fifth round choice (#142 pick overall) of the Oakland Raiders. He played 286 career games in the league.

Before you raise your hand and say, “Sure, kickers drafted are going to last a lot longer in the league than non-kickers,” I’ll admit you’ll have a good point. But that was not the case in every year.

Here are the players from each draft year (2000-2014) who have played in the most career NFL games from their draft class. I have also listed the number of NFL games each number one selection from that year played in his career.

2000: Shane Lechler, punter (5th round, #142 pick), 286 career games
Number One pick: Courtney Brown, 61 career games

2001: Drew Brees, QB (2nd round, #32 pick), 275 career games
Number One pick: Michael Vick, QB, 143 career games

2002: Julius Peppers, defensive end (1st round, #2 pick), 266 career games
Number One pick: David Carr, QB, 94 career games

2003: Jason Whitten, TE (3rd round, #69 pick), 255 career games
Number One pick: Carson Palmer, QB, 182 career games

2004: Larry Fitzgerald, WR (1st round, #3 pick), 250 career games
Number One pick: Eli Manning, QB, 236 career games

2005: Dustin Colquitt, punter (3rd round, #99 pick), 238 career games
Number One pick: Alex Smith, QB, 166 career games

2006: Sam Koch, punter (6th round, #203rd pick), 224 career games
Number One pick: Mario Williams, DE, 158 career games

2007: Mason Crosby, K, (6th round, #193 pick), 208 career games
Number One pick: JaMarcus Russell, QB, 31 career games

2008: Brandon Carr, DB (5th round, #140 pick), 192 career games
Number one pick: Jake Long, tackle, 104 career games

2009: Kevin Huber, punter (5th round, #142 pick)/Thomas Morstead, punter (5th round, #164 pick) each 174 career games
Number one pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, 149 career games

2010: Ndamukong Suh, DT (1st round #2 pick) 158 career games
Number One pick: Sam Bradford, QB, 83 career games

2011: Cameron Jordan, DE (1st round #24 pick), 144 career games
Number One pick: Cam Newton, QB, 125 career games

2012: Mitchell Schwartz, tackle (2nd round #37 pick)/Russell Wilson, QB (3rd round #75 pick)/Demario Davis, LB (3rd round #77 pick) each 128 career games
Number One pick: Andrew Luck, QB, 86 career games

2013: Cordarelle Patterson, WR (1st round #29 pick)/Duron Harmon, DB (3rd round #91 pick) each 111 career games
Number one pick: Eric Fisher, tackle, 102 career games

2014: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB (1st round, #21 pick)/Jarvis Landry, WR (2nd round, #63 pick) each 96 career games
Number One pick: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, 75 career games.

If we go to the 2015 draft, there are five players drafted that year who have played in the maximum number of career NFL games since that year, 80. None of those five were drafted in the first round of that ’15 draft.

Even the 2016 draft has a similar result: Nine players drafted in the ’16 draft have played the maximum of 64 career games in their four-year career in the NFL. Of those nine, none were drafted in the first round.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: April 13, 2020

23 stats you may not know about… Ted Simmons

When he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year, Ted Simmons will become the seventh player to wear a Brewers jersey to become a Hall of Famer. The other Hall of Fame players with ties to the Brewers: Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Trevor Hoffman, Paul Molitor, Don Sutton and Robin Yount.

Simmons was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981-85. He played in 665 games for the Brew Crew, collecting 666 hits, 66 HR, 394 RBI and batting .262.

Since he wore number 23 throughout his playing days, here are 23 stats you may not know about Simmons and his Hall of Fame career.

  1. Simmons ended his career with 2,472 hits and 248 home runs. He is one of 65 players in MLB history to have 2,400 hits and 240 HRs in a career. Of those 65 players, Simmons becomes the 39th to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  2. He played 21 seasons in the majors, 13 with St. Louis, five with the Brewers and three with Atlanta.
  3. He was born in Highland Park, Michigan. Of all players born in Michigan who played in the majors, Simmons ranks second in career hits with 2,472 (behind fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer) and third in home runs with 248, behind Kirk Gibson and John Mayberry who each hit 255. He ranks first on the list of Michigan-born ballplayers in MLB career games played with 2,456.
  4. Simmons was an eight-time All-Star. He was 2-for-10 in those games with one RBI.
  5. Seven times in his career he finished in the Top 20 in league MVP voting. His highest finish was sixth in the voting for the 1975 National League MVP.
  6. Simmons had 2,472 career hits, but did not have a season where he hit 200. The most hits he had in a season were 193 in 1975 with the Cardinals.
  7. His career high for home runs was 26 in 1979 with the Cards. His second-best year was 23 he hit for the Brewers in 1982.
  8. The best year for RBIs was in 1983 when Simmons drove in 108 with the Brewers. Three times in his career he had 100 or more RBIs in a season.
  9. Simmons twice led the league in intentional walks… in 1976 and 1977 with the Cards.
  10. He never played in a post-season game during his career with the Cardinals. He appeared in 17 post-season games with the Brewers in 1981 and 1982.
  11. The only positions Simmons did not play in his MLB career were pitcher, second base, shortstop and centerfield.
  12. He made 233 pinch-hit appearances, but was never a pinch-runner in a game.
  13. Simmons had 2,472 hits in 2,456 career MLB games. Of all players who played in 2,400 or more career games in the majors, Simmons is one of only 65 players to have more hits than games played.
  14. Simmons played 1,218 home games and 1,238 away games in his career. He had more HRs (132-116) in road games and had a higher batting average (.291-.279) in road games.
  15. Simmons highest monthly career batting average was in July. He hit .298 in July during his 21-year career.
  16. When his team won, Simmons’ batting average was .338. When his team lost, his career average was .233.
  17. He batted .301 in extra innings.
  18. The most career homers he hit versus one team were 23 each against the Pirates and Cubs.
  19. Simmons batted .300 or better in seven seasons. He was one of 157 players to accomplish that in a career. Cap Anson tops the list with 24 seasons with a batting average of .300 or better. Ty Cobb is second with 21 seasons at .300 or better.
  20. Most of Simmons plate appearances took place when he was batting clean-up. Of his 9,685 career plate appearances, Simmons had 5,296 of them from the fourth spot in the batting order.
  21. Simmons batted only .216 in his first season with the Brewers (1981). He batted .214 in five games in 1969 and .196 in his final season (1988 with the Braves), the lowest batting average seasons in his career.
  22. A switch-hitter, he hit a HR from both sides of the plate in a game three times.
  23. Simmons was first eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He received less than 5% of the votes that year and was taken off the ballot. He was eventually voted in this year by the Veterans Committee.

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp